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Mr.3D
03-21-2012, 05:02 PM
Greetings,


From another photo forum, quite interesting! Posted today....


I just attended (last night) a SMPTE meeting of the Hollywood Chapter. The subject was "The Technology and History of Film, presented by Beverly Pasterczyk of Eastman Kodak Co." Ms. Pasterczyk is a chemist with film R & D at Kodak, and she mentioned that Kodak Research is currently engaged in the continuing design and implementation of new emulsions, such as the new version of the Vision III product.

Regarding consumer films, she said that they are considering restructuring a new approach aimed at producing these at a reasonable cost in much smaller volumes than in the past. She said that new technology will permit them to continue to produce these in "boutique quantities" using single coating machines rather than the huge multiple coaters of the past. She said that basically, as long as they had sufficient orders for a minimum of a single master roll "54 inches (almost 1-1/2 meters) wide by whatever length - no minimum stated", they would consider examining production in terms of the economics involved. Future production would primarily be on an "on demand" basis.

This would include the infrastructure for processing, probably at a single lab, either in Rochester NY, or sub-contracted.

"On demand" could conceivably include any film that Kodak has ever manufactured. Someone in the audience asked the inevitable question: "Including Kodachrome?" Her answer: "Yes, including Kodachrome". She added that while small runs of Kodachrome were unlikely, it was not out of the question, since they have had numerous inquiries.

To the question "How could this be made possible?" her answer was intriguing. "Volume is the answer. Consumer groups of large numbers of individuals could petition for the return of a specific film. This would include not only large companies, but also individuals banded together such as camera clubs, especially those with a large enough base such that they could collectively join on a national or even international basis".

Lots to think about.

CGW
03-21-2012, 05:12 PM
Any chance of sharing the URL for this???

Parts of this seem possible but some of it is a bit speculative.

Roger Cole
03-21-2012, 05:26 PM
Wow.

I hope regular common films (Tri-X, TMY-2, Portra 400 and Ektar 100 cover it for me, barring a return of E100G and VS) would be made regularly without users having to scare up the demand - more likely for TXT, TMY-2 and Potra I think.)

This could be bad if even the common films have to be ordered a year in advance, or it COULD be wonderful news with the common stuff still common and long lamented emulsions available again, at least periodically.

Kodachrome would also, of course, have to address the processing. Wonder if Dwayne's would be ready to fire back up if the materials were available?

Hell, if they can do what this sounds like, we might even see 120 or, conceivably even 4x5 Kodachrome again!

DREW WILEY
03-21-2012, 05:44 PM
Heck, Roger, I'd vote for 8X10 Kodachrome. But could I ever spend fifty bucks a sheet for film and
processing?

Curt
03-21-2012, 05:55 PM
One word. Panatomic-X.

Large sheets in addition to rolls.

Moopheus
03-21-2012, 05:59 PM
If they could do it without making undesirable changes in the product, that would be great, if it meant the film could always be made. One thing I have to give Kodak credit for, through all the cuts and all the other problems, they've never sacrificed the quality of the film products they continue to sell. Some companies, when faced with similar issues, might cut quality control or otherwise cheapen a product to keep it on sale, but Kodak hasn't done that.

pen s
03-21-2012, 05:59 PM
I thought the problem with Kodachrome was the complex, 14 step processing. That it had to be controlled carefully and with enough volume to make it worth keeping the line running.

Ian Grant
03-21-2012, 06:01 PM
If the coating division of Kodak gets free of the Eastman Kodak shackles and rids it's obligations to past employes it may well rise from the ashes. Sounds like things may be possible

Is there a reason why Kodak couldn't begin making B&W papers again ? It maybe they need to work with partners in the future perhaps having niche films made by Fuji or Ilford, not such a wild idea.

Ian

Ian Grant
03-21-2012, 06:03 PM
I thought the problem with Kodachrome was the complex, 14 step processing. That it had to be controlled carefully and with enough volume to make it worth keeping the line running.

There were smaller volume machines made so it is vaguely possible.

Ian

CGW
03-21-2012, 06:07 PM
$$$ Wonder if film prices will spike, especially if its sold with processing included. Be careful what you wish for...

How far away is April 1?

wildbill
03-21-2012, 07:21 PM
You're all high.

CGW
03-21-2012, 07:29 PM
We're tryin'. Pass the bong...

Roger Cole
03-21-2012, 08:08 PM
There were smaller volume machines made so it is vaguely possible.

Ian

The K-labs. Not sure how well they worked, but they were made.

Roger Cole
03-21-2012, 08:11 PM
$$$ Wonder if film prices will spike, especially if its sold with processing included. Be careful what you wish for...

How far away is April 1?

Depends on the film and how much it spikes. I just paid over $10 a roll for ten rolls of E100G. I'd gladly pay $20 a roll for Kodachrome 64 with processing included. I'd not pay more than, say, $25 though, not while E6 films and processing are still readily available (and processing IS readily available - you may have to send it out; I'm fine with that and do it all the time anyway.)

$50 Drew? Ouch, yeah, not many would pay that. But isn't 8x10 Ektar already something like $10-$13 or so? $20 a sheet for 8x10 Kodachrome processing included doesn't look that bad compared to those numbers.

Still, I'll be happy to get it back in 35mm.

While we're all getting high on the prospect of a return of Kodachrome, get them to run some type R paper for all those chromes too. Happy days again...

(And then I woke up - but it still could be a good thing ultimately, just maybe not THIS good.)

zsas
03-21-2012, 08:48 PM
I love this speculation! Let's hope it pans out this way!

Renato Tonelli
03-21-2012, 09:06 PM
I am hallucinating... I was in the darkroom... maybe I forgot to turn on the ventilation system?

Ken Nadvornick
03-21-2012, 09:08 PM
While I'm not going to hold my breath, it might be fun to pause just a bit before exhaling...

:p

Ken

Prof_Pixel
03-21-2012, 09:26 PM
The Kodak Park power plant needs a 40 to 60 million dollar upgrade (it presently burns coal) to meet federal and state standards. http://www.13wham.com/news/local/story/eastman-business-park/rUlkFk6oFEmaPRbemHlBxQ.cspx This could be a major problem in the future.

Dan Daniel
03-21-2012, 09:40 PM
If the coating division of Kodak gets free of the Eastman Kodak shackles and rids it's obligations to past employes it may well rise from the ashes. Sounds like things may be possible


If the only way for this to happen is by shafting past employees by reneging on agreements made years ago, then I will never buy anything made by them.

Why is it considered anything less than a crime to cancel pensions and such? Forget the lawyers, it's the MBAs we need to kill first.

kb3lms
03-21-2012, 09:44 PM
Actually, what is described in the OP is exactly how modern manufacturing is done. The process and equipment is sized to the market. The general idea is to make exactly as much of the product as will be consumed, when and as it is consumed. In theory, if the process and production methods are designed correctly, it IS possible to make a profitable product in any size market. The company I work for is a niche electronics producer and this is how we work everyday. The part that seems to make it profitable or not is the amount of inventory that has to be managed (less is better) and how you account for it or so I am told - I'm not an accountant.

The batch nature of film production changes the scenario somewhat, but if they could stock small master rolls of their emulsions with long enough shelf life to allow the roll to be fully consumed, then each week (for the sake of argument) they would spool up enough rolls to fulfill that weeks sales, or, better yet, preferably on demand and by order.

Walking through our fairly small plant I did a mental exercise as to whether film (color and b/w) film could be made in that facility and I decided it could, but you'd have to do it by the sort of model described in the OP.

They might have some very good people advising them. What is described is not that far fetched. If they could make the emulsion for Panatomic-X and Kodachrome using the equipment they describe, the rest of it just might be an exercise for the accountants.